Caster and analyst Alex "Mauisnake" Ellenberg has made a bold prediction for HLTV Top 20 2023. He thinks NAVI's superstar Oleksandr "s1mple" Kostyliev will not reach top-3 this year. Maui shared his thoughts at the "Hot Take" YouTube show with Thorin and kassad.
I do not think that for 2023, s1mple will finish in the Top 3. I think that ZywOo is going to do better than him. I think broky could actually do better than him. If I had to pick three players that are going to finish in the top 3, right now, It would probably be sh1ro, ZywOo, and NiKo.
It's super far away to actually [judge], and we haven't even seen sh1ro play this year. You get this three, and you add in Ax1Le, potential from broky. There's also a chance that m0NESY does better than him this year.
The reason why Maui doubts s1mple is the way NAVI approached the start of the year and the first BLAST Groups. He sees uncertainty in their interviews, uncharacteristic for the team
The main thing is that NAVI are in a position where they are just so hung up on the fact that they are rebuilding, and they know that. [Thorin: they constantly frame it that way]. Yes. They are almost giving themselves more time to get better. I've never heard this approach from NAVI. You know, sometimes B1ad3 can say that they aren't good enough. But he's not like, "Oh, give us two tournaments, and we'll see what we need to do from here." And I think s1mple himself is kinda cooling him off a little bit. He knows that his team isn't in a position to compete for trophies, and I think he will take his foot off the gas just enough, whereas everybody else is just so hungry right now.
NAVI added npl during the offseason, although they played some maps with him at BLAST World Final. The team did make it through BLAST Spring Groups, although not from top placements. The next big event for them will be IEM Katowice 2023.